Facebook to let you type with your brain soon

Illustration by James Bareham  The Verge

Illustration by James Bareham The Verge

The social network is working on brain-computer-interface technology that will "one day will let you communicate using only your mind", according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. This project comes on the heels of a December deal that saw 17 research entities, including Harvard, sign on for priority collaboration with Building 8, with the goal of improving Facebook's efforts to realize its experimental ideas.

"If we fail, it's going to suck", Dugan said. This is about five times faster than typing away on a smartphone. "Your brain activity contains more information than what a word sounds like and how it's spelled; it also contains semantic information of what those words means". But hating the device for that was "the wrong narrative", she said.

60 engineers are now working on the technology from clandestine Building 8 - Facebook's innovative product research and development hub. This event is targeted at developers but is watched by tech fans around the world. Another employee, sporting said wearable on their arm, was able to "feel" the words being sent by the computer thanks to acoustic vibrations from the wearable.

During her presentation, Dugan also showed a video in which Facebook engineers were able to communicate wordlessly using skin sensations that told the subject which item to choose from differently shaped objects on a table. Their aim is to create a system that is capable of typing 100 words in a minute straight from your brain that too without burring a hole in your skull (like the traditional sensors that are directly connected to the brain).

Facebook's Building 8 is modeled after DARPA and its projects tend to be equally ambitious. "What if we could type directly from our brain into a computer?" Ultimately, they hope to develop a technology that allows individuals to "speak" using nothing but their thoughts-unconstrained by time or distance.

Facebook revealed more details about its Building 8, and what sort of futuristic projects it is developing.

The issue, Zuckerberg posited in his post, is that our brain produces data equivalent to streaming four high-definition movies every second, but our speech is limited in how much of that data it can transfer.

Even though Facebook has nearly 2 billion users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is investing massively in ideas such as virtual reality to make sure that the social network is not brushed aside by new and modern technologies.

Using brain implants, people can already type eight words a minute, she said.

"Even something as simple as a "yes/no" brain click, or a "brain mouse" would be transformative", Dugan said in a Facebook post. Each thing we learn about it seems to lead to more mysteries that we have yet to understand.

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